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How Jamaica Blue Toowoomba is Changing the Community

At Jamaica Blue, people come first. We’re a place where our loyal customer base can escape and refresh.

We’re also an active part of the community we serve. An exceptional example of this spirit can be found in Toowoomba’s beautiful Grand Central shopping centre.

Owned by business partners Trevor and Mandi Meise and Peta Buttfield, the two Jamaica Blue stores in Grand Central are top-performing locations in the franchise network.

The trio first opened a Jamaica Blue in Grand Central six years ago. With the original Garden Town Carvery (which Trevor and Mandi owned and Peta managed) being demolished to make way for the Grand Central extension, they decided to go into business together with Jamaica Blue.

It has proved a resounding success! Two years ago, they opened their second store in a prime location opposite Kmart.

Mandi Meise said, “Jamaica Blue is renowned for its expertise in the cafe industry, with extensive and innovative menus and recipes that are constantly evolving with new trends and tastes for our customers. It also provides an opportunity for connections.”

She continued, “When customers support local business, this in turn benefits the community by sustaining jobs and enriching the lives of others.”

Breaking Down Communication Barriers

A great example of this is Hannah Xavier and Santener Sakina, two young deaf women who started working at the Jamaica Blue store opposite Kmart.

Santener has worked ‘front of house’ for just over a year. Her bubbly personality easily breaks down barriers and makes customers feel more comfortable about communicating with someone who is hearing impaired.

Peta developed workarounds to make things easier for Santener. “For tables with two or more people I developed a colour-coding system so that Santener could identify which coffee or meal belonged to which customer.”

“When customers order at the register they are given a little coloured token to take with them. Santener also carries a little notepad with her to help with customer requests or questions.”

“It’s amazing to see customers get involved in a different way and make a real difference in these young girls’ lives” says Peta.

Hannah was part of the team for around six months and was in the kitchen preparing beautiful meals for the customers.

“I loved working at Jamaica Blue – learning new things, meeting new people and making different types of food,” Hannah says. “I felt good helping the crew to learn Auslan so they could communicate with me.”

Hannah has since gone on to pursue a fantastic opportunity as a hairdressing apprentice.

Troy Stubbs from Uniting Care says that one of the biggest challenges can be finding employers who will give someone with a disability a chance. “That’s why Peta and the crew at Jamaica Blue have been fantastic! They have opened their doors and the two young ladies that are placed there are thriving.”

Empowering people living with a disability is close to Peta’s heart.

“Growing up with a deaf mother, I saw firsthand the barriers that my mother faced trying to gain employment. I’m hoping to not only teach these young girls skills to further their lives in the workforce but to show employers that it is possible to accommodate a crew member with hearing impairment.”

Supporting Community Growth

We actively support and encourage all of our national franchisees and employees in their self-development and growth.

In addition, Jamaica Blue has always been a great entry point for younger people to get into the workforce and learn new skills. With over 28 people working across the two Jamaica Blues in Grand Central, Peta and Trevor are supporting a great network to achieve their Certificate III in hospitality certification.

Always dreamed of running your own cafe and being part of a wonderful community? Find out more about opportunities to join the Jamaica Blue family today by completing the enquiry form below.